GIBSLAND Gibsland Louisiana

Gibsland, LA

Date Founded: 1848

In 1848, Capt. Jesse Smith and others organized a Methodist Church near Sparta. The first services were held in private homes. Services were also held at the Mt. Lebanon Female Academy and the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church. In 1862, Dr. Jasper Biggs gave the church a lot on the north side of the old parallelogram at Mt. Lebanon. Capt. Smith had led the fundraising effort for a new church building for a number of years.

The first pastor assigned to the Mt. Lebanon-Sparta-Castor-Holder circuit was Rev. Thomas J. Upton. He led the congregation in building a church, which was completed in 1868. Hand-hewn timbers were used for the frame. The walls were boarded, and the cracks were covered with strips of wood. The pews were made of heavy planks with straight backs. The middle section of the pews was twice the width of the side pews. A partition as high as the pew backs went down the middle of the church. The carpentry was provided by the pastor and church members. They wanted to dedicate the church with a message by Bishop Marvin (who was in the area) but still owed $400. Mrs. Jesse Smith advanced them the money so that the service could be held.

Since the population in the area was scarce, the congregation decided to move to Gibsland to reach more people. In late spring 1885, Mrs. Elizabeth Blaylock bought a lot on Gibbs Street for $25 and gave it to the church. The church at Mt. Lebanon was dismantled and brought to the new location. Mrs. Blaylock later bought a parsonage for the church. Rev. Parvin was the first pastor at the new location.

In 1923, Rev. C.E. McLean started the congregation thinking about a new church. On September 7, 1926, the old church was torn down and sold for lumber. While construction took place, the members met at the schoolhouse. The new church was completed in August 1927. The church was dedicated by Bishop Hoyt Dobbs on August 30, 1936. A pipe organ was added in the 1950s.

In 1940, Rev. E.W. Day led the church in the construction of a new parsonage. Additional improvements have been made through the years.